Differentiating between urgent and important is the trick though isn’t it? After the fact, it may be easy but in the moment it can be devilishly hard, especially in a world that treasures action over reflection.
Perhaps one heuristic would be to simply ignore any decision (excepting immediate threat to life and limb) that claimed a need to be made immediately.
“Smart organizations ignore the urgent. Smart organizations understand that important issues are the ones to deal with. If you focus on the important stuff, the urgent will take care of itself.
“A key corollary to this principle is the idea that if you don’t have the time to do it right, there’s no way in the world you’ll find the time to do it over. Too often, we use the urgent as an excuse for shoddy work or sloppy decision making. […] Urgent is not an excuse. In fact, urgent is often an indictment–a sure sign that you’ve been putting off the important stuff until it mushrooms out of control.”
Obvious, but worth repeating from time to time. [Frank Patrick’s Focused Performance Blog]